A little over a year ago, I embarked on a journey with maps, but without a map. I learned a few things about my ability to keep a schedule (or lack thereof) and what doesn’t work. Now I’m refocusing and rebooting, trying some new things to see if I can move the needle.
The assumption was that all I really needed to do was create content on a regular schedule, broadcast it to the world, and gently direct people to my Patreon page. Then the money would just flow in, because people want to support things and people they like, right? If only it were that easy… I failed in a lot of ways, not the least of which was keeping that regular schedule. When you have a full life with a full-time job and full-time responsibilities as a husband and father, side gigs like drawing maps and writing stories can suffer if you don’t focus. I had a problem with focus.
I had a few people take the dare to become my patrons over the first year—one in particular that has been with me from the beginning—but I seriously dropped the ball on some of my promised rewards and, not surprisingly, I lost some patronage as a result. It was a case of bad timing in real life and I couldn’t find the focus to deliver in the face of those (admittedly minor) challenges. I feel horrible about that, and I hope I can make up for it some day.
So here we are in the midst of year two of Maps & Tales. I’ve delivered something in the neighborhood of 45 maps and/or stories since I launched this project in January of 2018, all free for personal use and inspiration. I’m going to keep putting out as much as I can, and I’ve retooled my Patreon reward tiers into a structure that I think I can commit to maintaining. I’ve also launched a Discord server where readers and Patrons can gather to share their own stories and maybe build a small community of like-minded folks.
As a bonus to celebrate my renewed focus, I’ve made the first playtest version of a D&D adventure I’m calling Shrine of the Burning Heart as a free download for everyone, not just patrons. In the future, you’ll need to be a patron to see updates to this and other works-in-progress. Here’s an excerpt from the intro:
An abnormally mild climate has allowed a mountain valley to live in peace and prosperity for as long as anyone can remember. An ancient bargain between a lovesick wizard and ancient elemental powers has kept the valley safe and secure for generations. Now that contract is on the verge of being shattered. Unless someone restores equilibrium, the peaceful vale will continue its plunge into a magically-induced winter that may never end.
Sound interesting? Check out the full playtest preview on Patreon. I’d love to hear your feedback.
As always, you can find me on Instagram (@mapsandtales) and Twitter (@mapsandtales), and email me directly. I hope my work so far speaks for itself, and I look forward to your thoughts on what I could do to improve in the future.
As always, thank you for reading.
Maps & Tales is supported by patrons just like you.
I have been and will continue to release content here—free for personal use—on a regular basis for as long as I possibly can. When you become a patron through Patreon, you'll be helping me sustain this effort. You'll be helping me upgrade my tools and devote more of my personal time to creating high-quality content for your enjoyment. As thanks, I've got a few extra goodies for you, including exclusive content for patrons and custom maps—just for you!.